Peyton's health the key to Colts' options 

August, 12, 2011
It's all about health with the Indianapolis Colts, because if we knew we could count on quarterback Peyton Manning, running back Joseph Addai and wide receivers not named Reggie Wayne -- and even he has dealt with injuries the past few seasons -- there would be no concerns. Manning is coming off a season in which he posted his most passing yards and second-most touchdown passes, but he's coming off neck surgery. Addai has scored 47 touchdowns in five seasons, but he played only eight games last season. Then you have Wayne's knee, Dallas Clark's wrist, Austin Collie's head ... hmm, I'm thinking trusted colleague/injury expert Stephania Bell should just move to the great state of Indiana and follow this team 24/7.

Fantasy owners are showing caution in how they draft Colts, and while I've been pretty consistent in my trust of Manning, I have to admit this team could look like a house of cards without him. I was asked about top-10 wide receiver Wayne recently and discussed the risks associated with him, but the biggest concern is not his age, but rather the fact that Curtis Painter or Dan Orlovsky could be the ones slingin' the pigskin in his direction, not a future Hall of Famer.

[+] EnlargePeyton Manning
Joe Robbins/Getty ImagesPeyton Manning is being selected, on average, with the 20th pick in ESPN live drafts.
Think about how many reliable wide receivers would become instant sell-high options were the Colts to announce that Manning will miss September games. Don't panic! I'm talking theoretically; the surgery Manning underwent for a bulging disk was months ago, and although we're not likely to see him throw a preseason pass, I remain optimistic he'll play in Week 1, and play well. He's Peyton Manning, right? He's always good. But I admit I'd be closed-minded if I didn't say this potential pain in the neck could be an issue that lingers and causes either missed games or a reduction in effectiveness. Plus, there are the normal recent concerns about the running game, the offensive line and the rise in interceptions.